There are 9 to 12 directors on the board. We strive to have representation from all three counties in the watershed. Number of years in parentheses represent total years on the board.
Current Board of Directors
Elizabeth Dropp, Chair, Youngsville, PA (12 years)
Liz has been a director for nearly 11 years and has served as the treasurer for most of that time. She has lived in Warren County for the past 33 years. Part of her property drains to the Conewango Creek watershed. She has an associate and bachelor degrees in Agronomy (Crops and Soils). She has worked for the USDA NRCS and two different Conservation Districts in the past. She also has worked for the US Forest Service and Pa Dept of Agriculture doing forest insect pest monitoring activities. She strongly believes we all need to stop thinking about our water and related resources in such a piecemeal fashion. Everything is interrelated. She also believes we need to work with nature, not against it. And people need to adjust their frame of mind and realize that protecting our water resources is very important and that protection of them doesn’t have to mean we stop using them.
Ron Johnson, Vice-Chair, Russell, PA (5 years)
Ron Johnson is a life long resident of Scandia PA and retired from Osram Sylvania with over 34 years of service. He is a 49 year member of Scandia Volunteer Fire Department, where he serves as a firefighter, EMT (40 years), and currently holds the positions of Secretary, Trustee and ambulance Lieutenant. He previously served as Fire Chief. Ron is also an avid volunteer for the Audubon Community Nature Center, where he has logged over 2000 hours. Ornamental blacksmithing is one of Johnson’s passions. His hobby/business, Evergreen Forge, was established in 1998. In addition, he is an avid birdwatcher and enjoys fly fishing. The Johnsons have traveled extensively, visiting and hiking in 37 of the 59 National Parks and enjoy time spent with their 5 granddaughters.
John Able, Secretary, Warren, PA (1 year)
After growing up on a farm in Illinois and serving in the Marine Corps, John spent most of his adult life in Arizona and California, working for the Forest Service as a wildland firefighter, public affairs officer, and technical writer. He and his wife moved to North Warren in 2014, where they live across the street from Conewango Creek. His undergraduate work combined English, physics and math, with a focus on science and technical writing. He also has an MA in Writing from the University of Arizona. After working on cleanups of the Allegheny Reservoir, Allegheny River, Chautauqua Lake, and Conewango Creek, he became a member of Conewango Creek Watershed Association, where he serves on the Board of Directors as Secretary. He retired from the Forest Service in 2015 and now focuses on conservation of waterways and watersheds.
Ron Keeney, Treasurer, Warren, PA (3 years)
Ron Keeney is a long-time resident of Warren County and has always had an interest in environmental issues. He has a B.S. from Buffalo State College in Information Systems Management and has taken Environmental Science courses at Jamestown Community College. He also holds a MS Ed from Edinboro, specializing in Earth/Space Science, General Science, and Social Sciences. He has completed all his coursework for the MA in Social Sciences degree from Edinboro as well. Ron has taught various courses at University of Pittsburgh at Bradford since 2001 and also teaches for the Warren County School District. Ron has kayaked, canoed, hiked, and biked many of the trails and waterways in the area which gives him the drive to see local wilderness preservation efforts and encourage local sustainable practices which enhance the beauty and wonder of this area. Ron is also a member of the North Country Trail Association, Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, Jamestown Audubon, Warren Players, Warren County Historical Society, and Allegheny Center for the Arts. He is also on the Allegheny River/Reservoir/Conewango Creek planning committees and the Women’s Outdoor Workshops planning committee. Ron became interested in the CCWA through his volunteer work as a teacher naturalist at the Warren County Conservation District.
Steve Kimball, Past Chair, Kennedy, NY (17 years)
Steve is a retired dairy producer who produced organic milk and crops. His fields lie along the Conewango and its tributaries. He is a former County Legislator, a charter member of the CCWA and has been on the board since the start. He is the president elect of the Falconer Rotary, a NYS representative of the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance. He is married and the father of 5, two of whom are still at home.
Sue Nielsen, Warren PA (4 years)
Sue grew up in Frewsburg, NY and has resided in Warren, PA for the past 22 years. She owns and operates a licensed and accredited Preschool and holds degrees in Humanities and Early Childhood Education from Jamestown Community College and Clarion University. Sue has served as President of the Warren County School District PTO, helped in various roles with her children’s Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, co-chairs a Relay For Life team and organized the children’s activities for the Warren County Cinco Races. She volunteers at the Jamestown Audubon Society and the Struthers Library Theater. Sue is also a member of the planning committee for the Allegheny Reservoir Cleanup and the Conewango Creek and Allegheny River Cleanups. In her spare time, Sue enjoys kayaking, hiking, camping, trail running and cross country skiing and has participated in numerous 5K runs and kayak, adventure and obstacle course races. Sue is the mother of three children who share her enthusiasm for protecting the environment and educating the public about recycling, repurposing and leaving no trace when enjoying the beauty of our wilderness areas.
Vicki Tomica, Warren, PA (6 years)
Dick Burlingame, Russell, PA (4 years)
Dick is a retired elementary school teacher and farmer. He has lived in Russell, PA area his entire life. He grew up on the Conewango Creek which is the basis of his interest in the CCWA. He has a deep concern for the quality of our environment. He is a volunteer in the Teacher Naturalist program for the Warren County Conservation District and helps with various activities including Childrens’ Nature Camps.
Kirk Johnson, Warren, PA (6 years)
Kirk Johnson, a long-time resident of the Conewango Creek’s watershed, holds a B.A. From Albion College in Albion, Michigan (1992), and Master of Environmental Studies degree from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington (1999). Has was the founder of the Warren-based non-profit organization Friends of Allegheny Wilderness in 2001, where he has been executive director since that time. He has a strong interest in finding pragmatic, community-based avenues to preserving natural areas in perpetuity where nature is simply allowed to run its course unimpeded, unmanipulated, and unmanaged over time. He was thrilled with the removal of the lowhead dam on the Conewango in the City of Warren in the autumn of 2009 — an action that piqued his interest in further restoration of the watershed, and in becoming active with CCWA. In addition to CCWA, his memberships include North Country Trail Association, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, Vasa Order of America, Warren County Genealogical Society, Warren County Historical Society.